The Fellowship of Life
a Christian-based vegetarian group founded in 1973

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Letters

Positive influence

I was saddened to read Mrs. Margaret Lawson's criticism of the aims of the Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (June issue) as against those of the Fellowship of Life, which Mrs. Lawson has founded. Surely every influence to stimulate peoples' regard for the creatures, however small or partial, is to be welcomed.

Unfortunately, the New Testament records, as they stand and are officially interpreted by the various sections of the Church, provide no grounds whatever for suggesting that Christians should be vegetarians. It is only from certain writings of some of the Early Fathers of the Church that a tradition of vegetarianism seems to have been followed by some of the immediate followers of Jesus. References point to Peter, James, Matthew and, possibly, Thomas, so that one is led to speculate whether there were other Teachings, or other interpretations, which encouraged them in their practice.

The Jesus portrayed in the Gospels is presented as being, sometimes pacific, sometimes sentimental and occasionally arrogant and forceful and, certainly, the Christian Church in general has written a tragic history of domination by force of every description, so that it is no wonder that the younger generation turns to the East to find genuinely compassionate teachings and embodied ideas, together with an understanding of the spiritual side of life which is almost non-existent in the materialistic West.

Ronald Lightowler
August 1974

N.B. Ronald Lightowler (1905 - 1990) was a former Secretary of the London Vegetarian Society and the Editor of their journal The Vegetarian News during the 1940's/50's. The L.V.S. merged with the Manchester based Vegetarian Society in 1969 although their journals had already combined to became The British Vegetarian in 1959.

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